To address the failure of sustainable transport policies to bring about significant change, researchers have proposed to ‘tame the few’, targeting the minority sectors of the population responsible for a disproportionate amount of emissions. At the same time, activity- and practice-based approaches are increasingly proposed as the way forward for transport and energy research. In this article, we develop an approach inspired by both developments, by focusing on the car- and carbon-intensive food shopping practices of the 20% of households with the longest car travel distance as recorded in the National Travel Survey of Great Britain (NTS 2002-2010) for this activity. We present a four-cluster typology of gross polluters, highlighting the crucial role of frequency and the existence of a small but growing group of low-income, older households with ‘Shopping intensive’ travel patterns. These results suggest that, while the households with the worst climate impact have a distinct socio-demographic profile, broader sections of the population are recruited into gross polluting patterns of food shopping travel. Also, while built environment policies remain key, significantly reducing transport emissions in this area requires a broader approach, taking into account the relationships between food shopping and eating practices.
Document type: Article
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